Textiles – The demand for fabrics is on the rise providing multiple opportunities for you!
Every piece of clothing – shirt, dress, suit or blouse – first exists as a sheet of fabric; it is the most important raw material on which the clothing industry is built. Every year, millions of rolls of clothing materials (like cotton, silk, linen and wool) are used to make all kinds of clothing. One of the world‘s leading textile producers is Bangladesh, a developing country like many in Africa. In 2013 alone, Bangladesh‘s textile industry was worth more than $19 billion, second only to China, the world‘s largest textile producer.
If you‘re interested in entering the textile business in Africa, there are two major ways to achieve this goal. Here they are:
Yes, the scale of the textile industries in Asia give it significant cost advantages over other regions. China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand and several other major textile producers export fabrics to many regions of the world, including Africa. The continent already imports large volumes of textile products from Asia and we expect that these volumes will continue to grow in line with the demand for clothing in Africa.
f) Local production
It may be impossible for Africa‘s textile industry to catch up with the world‘s leading producers except with massive investment and government support. However, Africa still has a huge opportunity with locally-made fabrics. Traditional African textiles are making a comeback on the continent; some of the most popular that have the highest local demand and export potential are: Aso oke and Adire (Nigeria), Kente (Ghana), Shema (Ethiopia), Barkcloth and Mudcloth (Uganda), Kitenge (East Africa) and Shweshwe (South Africa).
Africa has a huge advantage in building a lucrative industry out of its culturally-inspired textiles. It owns the techniques for making them, and a huge market to tap into. These local textiles will very likely open new horizons of opportunity for Africa‘s textile industry.
While you could simply go into trading these fabrics a great business concept for you lies in carving out your own niche and unique production range. Think about home-décor for example such as curtains, cushions, table runners, serviettes, bedding sets. It would be very simple to employ local sewers to help producing your range; in fact you can get this quickly off the ground with little investment and even in your own garage or house.
Make sure you get your products online these days approach major furniture shops, and produce for the hotel industry or the African Diaspora!
In fact, bedding is still largely imported across Africa – it‘s a valuable niche for you to focus on entirely!
Baby clothing and bedding
Luxury ties and bow ties
Top Countries & Policy Guidance
This kind of business would work anywhere in Africa, but Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria are planning to develop their apparel industries, so expect very vibrant markets to grow in these countries.
Action & Tips
Very important is that you build a qualitative brand that people can recognize everywhere a few years from now. Don‘t sell pillow cases – develop and sell your brand.
Have a look online about thriving apparel industries and products in the West, Middle and Far East and get inspired by products and creative ideas that could be translated into an African context.